One mistake many small and medium-sized businesses repeat year after year is failing to make digital marketing a high priority. It is a missed opportunity that can be costly in the long run. The average person spends three hours a day on the internet searching for information, shopping, and communicating with other people. A significant percentage of the time spent online is dedicated to retail transactions. This is evidenced by the steady growth in e-commerce sales, reaching $469.2 billion in 2021, and consumers’ increasing preference to shop from their homes, offices, and cell phones.
While the facts speak for themselves, some business owners are not connected with their customers digitally. Successful retailers may believe that the traditional marketing methods are working and no more needs to be done. There can be a lack of understanding of ways to get up to speed on this form of marketing. Some may think digital is best left to someone else to explore.
Yet, it’s critical to have an online presence to engage consumers in real-time and cast a wider net where shoppers are present 24/7. In a survey Forbes conducted with small business owners, 60 percent of respondents intend to build their online presence, and 24 percent expressed a need to invest in new and emerging technologies to remain relevant in the digital space. There are many reasons businesses can benefit from digital marketing.
Balance Rising Costs by Boosting Online Revenue
Due to inflation and the rising cost of goods, many retailers have few options except to raise prices. According to the 2021 Small Business Insights Survey, 9 out of 10 respondents plan for online sales to be a significant source of revenue this year. Most plan to generate additional revenue through the company’s website or by using social media.
- 39 percent want to improve marketing results
- 31 percent plan to invest in technology
- 12 percent generate 100 percent of their revenue online
Physical Stores Benefit from Buy Online, Pick-up in Store
Brick and mortar stores bounced back after retail giants such as Amazon and Walmart were plagued with shipping delays and could no longer guarantee next-day delivery. Customers now realize that it may be faster to buy merchandise online and pick it up in-store. A curbside pickup is also a convenient option that gained traction at the height of the pandemic but is now a hit with consumers. Incorporating these options into your existing e-commerce platform will make doing business with you more appealing since customers place a high priority on saving time and convenience.
Focus on Enhancing the Customer Experience
It takes work to “wow” customers and ensure you provide exceptional service and a memorable experience. The pandemic has caused retailers to pause and reflect on the best ways to serve customers and be competitive while navigating an unpredictable retail landscape. Digital marketing is a crucial element in creating a meaningful experience.
Customers have said they want more choice of communication channels, not less. They also appreciate personalized messages that address their needs for specific products and services. The digital transformation enables business owners to speak to consumers across generations without leaving the comfort of home.
- 59 percent of consumers care more about the customer experience than they did before Covid
- Failure to meet consumer expectations can be a win for competitors.
Retailers sitting on the fence are missing an opportunity to create an omnichannel business that enables them to sell more products to multiple audiences. The best way to get started is to learn more about marketing digitally. Then follow up by putting what you’ve learned into action on a DIY project. If necessary, get help from an expert or someone who can walk you through the process. It will take time to see measurable results, but you are one step closer to success.